Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality Fiona O’Loughlin TD says a new commemorative programme launched by the Houses of the Oireachtas will offer people the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of women in politics over the last 100 years.

The Vótáil 100 Programme was launched this week in Leinster House and marks 100 years since women were first granted the right to vote and stand for election.

Deputy O’Loughlin, who is a member of the Vótáil 100 Committee, commented, “I was delighted to attend the launch of this commemorative programme today. It’s important that we remember the fight that those before us undertook to ensure all women had the right to vote.

“As a member of the Vótáil 100 Committee it was heartening to see women from across the political spectrum coming together to put in place an extensive programme to mark the achievements of women in politics. The programme for events includes exhibitions, publications, conferences, films and set piece events which will tell the story of Irish women’s struggle for equality in the political sphere.

“This commemorative programme offers us the opportunity to remember how the present generation of women in the Oireachtas stand on the shoulders of those that went before them. Without them we would not be where we are today. Constance Markievicz in particular was a trail-blazer for her time and was the second female Minister in the World. It would take another 58 years for another woman to hold Ministerial office in Ireland following Máire Geoghegan-Quinn’s appointment in 1978.

“The events being undertaken by the Oireachtas will include a special lecture from Máire Geoghegan-Quinn to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge. This lecture will look at the importance of our National Language and will look at her life and career in Irish and European politics, and how the role of women in politics has been enhanced down through the years. Máire has an outstanding legacy having held 8 Ministerial portfolios and going on to be Ireland’s only female EU Commissioner to date. She has done much to promote equality, including decriminalising homosexuality.

“Fianna Fáil will also be running its own events to commemorate the women’s suffrage movement, details of which will be announced in the coming days. It’s important that we mark the centenary of when women were first granted the right to vote and stand for election. People should be allowed the opportunity to reflect on the past and discuss what steps need to be taken in the future to promote equality in political and other walks of life,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.